"Basketball" is the fifth episode of the first season of The Office and the 5th overall . It was written and directed by Greg Daniels. It first aired on April 19, 2005. It was viewed by 5 million people.


Michael comes in to work prepared to pit the office staff against the warehouse in a game of basketball, with the losers having to work on Saturday. Michael picks Jim, Ryan, Stanley (Michael's "secret weapon"), and, reluctantly, Dwight and Phyllis (as an alternate).

The game begins and Stanley, despite being black (which is the main reason that Michael chose him), is a horrible player. Furthermore, Michael cannot make a shot, nor is he a fan of passing or defending. During the game, Roy and Jim gradually become aggressive toward each other, with Pam looking on. At a crucial point in the game, Michael is accidentally hit in the face. Michael knew his team was ahead so he claims it is a "flagrant personal intentional foul". He pettily stops the game and declares the office winners since they were winning when the foul occurred. The warehouse finds the call unfair and Michael caves under pressure, conceding the victory to the warehouse staff. As everybody returns to work, Kevin demonstrates his excellent shooting skills.

Afterward, Michael, in a rare moment of heart, tells the office that they don't have to come in on Saturday either. However, his justification does little to calm them: "Like coming in an extra day is going to prevent us from being downsized."


  • At least two of the scenes in the show's opening sequence are from this episode: Ryan holding up his bag and Dwight flipping his tie over his shoulder.
  • Michael thinks Stanley is his secret weapon due to the fact that he believes all African Americans are good at Basketball.
  • Actor Brian Baumgartner actually made 14 shots in a row, as revealed on the DVD commentary.
  • Much of the basketball game was improvised. Greg Daniels simply told the cast to play basketball, and they kept the best parts.
  • Although it was in the script for Roy to hit Jim in the mouth during the basketball game (and they rehearsed it), the scene in the episode was entirely accidental.[1]
  • Michael says he will use Oscar during baseball season, in an off-color joke about his Latino heritage. Actually, in the series' second episode ("Diversity Day"), there is a shot of Kevin using an overside pencil where a magazine titled "Baseball" is seen on Oscar's neighboring desk.

Deleted scenes

The Season One DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode.

Amusing details

  • During the early part of the game, after Roy makes an easy lay-up, Michael angrily shouts, "Who's got Roy?" presumably having forgotten that he is responsible for covering Roy. This could also be attributed to the fact that Michael doesn't want to be held accountable for Roy's scoring.

Cultural references

  • Michael greets Pam by saying, "Pam, Pam, thank you ma'am." The phrase Wham bam thank you ma'am is crude slang referring to a man having sex with a woman very quickly and impersonally.
  • A pick-up game is a game formed spontaneously in a public place (such as a park) among people who do not all know each other.
  • Regis Philbin is a television personality. Mr. Rogers was the host of the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • To chicken out is to decline an option due to cowardice, usually applied to backing out of a previous agreement.
  • Gimli is a fictional character from the fantasy book series The Lord of the Ring.
  • WaveRunner is a brand of jet-ski personal water craft.
  • Michael refers to a muscular woman as the East German gal. East Germany (which reunited with West Germany in 1990) dominated international sports competitions in part due to its athletes' use of steroids.
  • Larry Bird is a former professional basketball player, considered by many to be one of the best players ever.
  • In a deleted scene, Michael describes the basketball movie Like Mike but cannot remember its name.
  • Dwight wears a mask that is similar to Richard Hamilton's, who plays for the Chicago Bulls.


see Basketball Quotes


Main Cast

Recurring Cast


  1. GMMR Exclusive Interview with David Denman

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